Enquist, Per Olov

Enquist, Per Olov or P. O. pâr ōˈläv ĕnˈkvĭst [key], 1934–2020, Swedish novelist and dramatist. He wrote more than 20 novels as well as plays, essays, screenplays, and collections of poems. His works, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, were especially popular in Sweden, France, and Germany. Enquist based many works on historical figures and events, using a semidocumentary style. His breakthrough novel The Legionnaires (1968, tr. 1973) examines the life of refugees in Sweden after World War II. His popular play The Night of the Tribades (1975, tr. 1977) examines the private life of playwright August Strindberg, and the drama Bildmakarna [the picture makers] (1998) features Selma Lagerlöf as one of its four characters. Enquist's later novels include Nedstortad Angel (1987, tr. Downfall, 1991), I Lodjurets Timma (1988, tr. Hour of the Lynx, 1990), Kapten Nemos Bibliotek [Captain Nemo's library] (1991), and the historical novel of the 1770s, Livläkarens Besök (1999, tr. The Royal Physician's Visit, 2001), best known to American readers, which won (1999) the August Prize, Sweden's highest literary award. Enquist's fiction often provides social criticism from his position on the political left. Enquist wrote screenplays for Hamsun (1996) and Magnetisörens femte vinter [the magnetist's fifth winter] (1997), an adaptation of his 1964 novel (and first major book) of the same name, and cowrote the screenplay for Pelle the Conqueror (1987), which won an Academy Award for best foreign screenplay. His other works include short stories and travel books; his autobiography, Ett Annat Liv [a different life] (2008), also won the August Prize.

See his memoir, The Wandering Pine (2008); study by R. Shideler (1984).

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